Interview: Mark Bao, 11 Companies and 3 Foundations by Age 17

Mark Bao Interview: 11 Companies and 3 Foundations by Age 17

by Nick Scheidies and Nick Tart on February 22, 2010 · 29 comments

Mark Bao had his first encounter with entrepreneurship in the fifth grade. He used Visual Basic 6.0 to write a simple computer application that managed his homework assignments and helped him write school papers. Then he copied the program onto floppy discs and sold them to his friends.

His first start-up came in his first year of high school. Debateware.com was an event management system for debate organizations. Eventually, Mark and his business partner sold it to the largest debate organization in the United States.

Today Mark is a 17-year-old high school senior and he has already launched 11 web-based companies (and sold three of them) along with three non-profit foundations. Some of his projects include TickrTalk, the Ramamia Foundation, Classleaf, and Avecora – a technology network launching sometime in 2013.

The following is a short excerpt from 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs (Volume 1). Grab your free chapter at the bottom of this page.

Q: You’ve created 11 web-based businesses and you’ve sold three of them. What is it like to sell one of your companies?

A: The buyers mostly just come to us. They recognize our company, make an offer and, in some cases, we go ahead with it. The problem with a lot of start-ups is that they try to go for an acquisition [from the onset] and they don’t focus as much on the money-making part of it. That’s why most of my companies focus on making money, not hoping for an acquisition.

Part of my struggle is that I want to see where they’re going with the business and, in most cases, I don’t have control over that. Like with a baby, I just want to make sure that it’s going to have a good future that will promote the ideas I started the company with.

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?

A: I still want to do entrepreneurship. Avecora is helping people communicate better and experience technology in a new way. That’s the company that I want to build an empire out of.

We’re always working on the non-profits as well. My preliminary life goal right now is to donate 80% to humanitarian aid and research. Since my life goal for my career is to earn $10 billion, that would be $8 billion. Another 10% will go to The Mark Bao Foundation, where we manage research grants and lobby for better funding for NASA and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Another 5% will go to funding start-ups, helping them grow.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: I just want people to create companies that are awesome, create value, and give back to the community as a whole. I really hope they do.

This is an abridged version from Mark’s interview in our latest project, 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs. Mark was absolutely delightful to talk to! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started my conversation with the entrepreneur who specializes in computer programming. (Another one of Mark’s life goals is to make people smile more often.) I smiled through the entire interview :).

Mark Bao’s Top Quotes

“I just try to think of myself as an entrepreneur who happens to be a teen.”

“I hope my companies will help create value and make people happier in the long run. That’s what I’m in it for.”

Impressed by What Mark’s Done Being So Young?

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Photo by: DemoCamp Boston

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 martin February 23, 2010 at 5:02 am

Great article Nick! This blog has inspired me to start one of my own.
Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

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2 Nick Tart February 23, 2010 at 11:38 am

I love to hear that, Martin! A blog is a great place to start as a young entrepreneur. There are so many places you can take it. Let me know if you have any questions along the way.

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3 Jason Pereira February 24, 2010 at 9:17 am

Cool interview, it’s always nice to see other entrepreneurs doing innovative things.

Btw Nick if you’ve got Skype add me, we should talk / got a couple questions about your book. :)

Skype is leonetworks
.-= Jason Pereira´s last blog ..Trent Brownrigg Interview – The $48,000 Site Flip =-.

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4 Nick Tart February 24, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Yeah, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of Mark Bao in the future. I would love to talk. I just added you. I have about 12 questions for you as well ;).

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5 Euveshan February 24, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Its always great to see an entrepreneur that has absolute passion for what he does and who knows exactly what they want in life. Its crucial to set high goals in life and business and more importantly give back to the community and Its evident here that Mark is generous in the amount of money he is planning on donating.

Nice Job!

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6 Nick Tart February 24, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Yeah, one of the main common threads between all these young entrepreneurs is that they know exactly what they want to do and exactly how they are going to do it. It’s weird. And you should know that he’s from Boston!

Thanks for your comment, Euvy!

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7 Nick Scheidies February 25, 2010 at 4:06 am

When I was listening to and transcribing this interview, it was amazing to think that Mark is just 17-years-old. The poise and perspective from a kid his age really goes to show how much young people are capable of.

Reply

8 Nick Tart February 25, 2010 at 10:58 am

Hey Scheidz! Thanks for your perspective. You’ve listened to his responses more than I have and it’s good to know we’re on the same page!

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9 Colin Peavy November 26, 2012 at 7:04 am

this really inspired me as a young entrepenuer to make a blog of my own and prosper from that.

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10 jhunell June 26, 2013 at 5:49 am

hey

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11 ルイヴィトン通販 November 22, 2013 at 11:40 am

通販

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12 tory burch どう November 22, 2013 at 11:41 am

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